Monday, December 16, 2019

Advent: Seeking Christ Day 16

Advent: Seeking Christ Day 16

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” {vv.16-17}.

This chapter sixteen is a continual rebuke to the Pharisees who believed they were more righteous because they had wealth. They believed that financial wealth was a sign of God’s blessing on them. So if you were poor, God’s blessing was not on your life. But Jesus responded to them that God alone knows the heart and only He can judge who is righteous and who is not; money is not that judge. They cannot justify themselves by their wealth or religious standing. Jesus rightly informed them that He was not impressed with their outward appearance when their hearts clearly were not right; they have misunderstood the blessing of God’s covenant. There were many righteous people in the Old Testament who did not have riches and many unrighteous who were rich.

Jesus once again reveals the hearts of these particular Pharisees when He explains the Law to them. With the arrival of John the Baptist as Jesus forerunner came the arrival of God’s kingdom and brought to completion the Law and the Prophets. Many people, including the Pharisees, were trying to force their way into the kingdom by other means that what John—and Jesus—were teaching. Regardless of their self-justification, they were not even living according to God’s Law. 

The fulfillment of the Law does not mean an end to the Law. Because of Jesus’ sinless, perfect, once-and-for-all sacrifice, the sacrificial requirements of the Law were no longer needed. The principle of the Law, however, did not conclude and they (and we) are required to live by the principle of the Law which was administered by angels. Paul later rebukes the religious leaders for the same heart issue:

Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” {Acts 7:52-53 NASB}.

God’s eternal laws and principles did not cease. We must still live out love, faith, hope, and loving our neighbors, and putting God first in our lives.

Let’s purpose through this Advent to continue to live out the principles of God’s Law, which Christ declared should now be written on our hearts. Let’s put God first in our lives—this Advent—and beyond and give Him our very best.

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